Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William A. Crawford
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project
WILLIAM A. CRAWFORD
Interviewed by: William W. Moss
Initial interview date: March 12, 1971
Copyright 1999 ADST
Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Library
Q: Ambassador Crawford, in reading your biography in the Biographic Register, I see that you were a Career Minister, and that when the Kennedy administration came in, you were head of the Research and Analysis Office for the Sino-Soviet Bloc. Is that correct?
CRAWFORD: Correct on the latter. However, I was not a career minister, but an FSO-1 [Foreign Service officer, Class One, Department of State] when I was appointed as minister to Romania. After leaving there, I also held the personal rank of minister while serving as Special Assistant for International Affairs to SACEUR [Supreme Allied Commander Europe].
Q: Right. In your position as head of the Research and Analysis Office for the Sino- Soviet Bloc, let me ask you how you saw the Kennedy administration taking over in the State Department, with particular reference, say, to Roger Hilsman, who came in as head of INR [Bureau of Intelligence and Research]?
CRAWFORD: Well, it took over with considerable impact. The appointment of Roger Hilsman, who came to us from the Library of Congress, was greeted by everyone with great interest and some uncertainty. We knew him to be a bright young New Frontiersman with a fine record as a soldier and a scholar. We also knew him to be an activist who had the President's confidence. We expected that there might be some rapid changes, and there were. INR was soon to face substantial cuts in staff and to acquire that “lean and hungry” look so admired by the new administration. The staff of my own office [Office of Research and Analysis for the Sino-Soviet Bloc] was cut almost in half—from over one hundred down to some sixty members—within the next year. And yet, I think we got out more work of substance than ever before, and with a much sharper focus.
Q: Was this because of the transfer of the NIS [NationaIntelligence Survey] to CIA [Central Intelligence Agency]?